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‘They were sitting on their hands’: Insiders say Biden’s team wasted precious time on evacuating Afghans

1 36 0
17.08.2021

During an interagency meeting early this summer, a Defense Department official was asked if the Pentagon had a list of all Afghans who worked alongside the United States during the 20-year war. The Pentagon representative responded that such a list didn’t exist.

Then during another interagency meeting in early July, this one classified and conducted via video conference, a State Department staffer detailed how they would eventually relocate vulnerable Afghans seeking special visas to the U.S. The official asserted that Kabul wouldn’t fall for six to 12 months, so they had plenty of time to hire more staff and position consular officers to the capital to process the 20,000-person backlog.

And in late July, two weeks before the Taliban captured their first provincial capital, a coalition of groups that work with special visa applicants wrote multiple emails to the State Department’s Afghanistan Task Force offering their assistance. Those emails were never returned.

These instances, detailed to POLITICO by five U.S. officials and people familiar with the situation, are indicative of how the administration wasted precious time and failed to prepare to evacuate thousands in danger as the Taliban plotted their comeback. Flaws in the planning and execution of the withdrawal have led to wrenching scenes of Afghans clinging to U.S.........

© Politico


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